What is "Unstressed" articulation, looks like "U", in Dorico side panel?

What is it? What is it’s purpose?

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I have asked a dozen+ musicians and professional composers (including symphony performers at the highest level, and professional jazz players) and no one knows what this “U” mark means. I have never seen it in a score either. I replaced the default shortcut which applies it, because it sounds like I will never use it.

It has a prominent space in the panel, so it would be assumed to be popular use. While other frequently used notations such as double-flat or double-sharp do not get handy icons in the panel at all.

Example of its use in a score? What musical time period, what genre, uses it?

According to Behind Bars, it was an articulation introduced by Schoenberg. You can find these markings in his Op. 25 Suite for Piano, ex. in the Gigue movement, as well a few other works here and there. Not very commonly used, though.


It comes from poetic foot notation. | ◡ ◡ – | is an anapest, etc.


Created by Schoenberg and inspired from poetics, but used by period instruments baroque players extensively as a pencil marking. Stressed and unstressed is an important part of playing this music properly, especially in common time when the strong part of a phrase can start mid-bar instead of at the beginning of a bar… Here’s a measure taken from Handel’s Op. 6 no. 2 where stressed and unstressed markings make an appearance in the first violins. These are markings from a well-to-do recording artist. We use these a lot as short-hand. They’ve been co-opted from Schoenberg, of all people! Having said that, they are rarely printed.


It’s in Stone’s book, Music Notation in the Twentieth Century (Kurt Stone, Norton, 1980)

Also in Read, Music Notation, a Manual of Modern Practice (Gardner Read, 2nd ed, Taplinger, 1979)


Think of it as the opposite of an accent. Deemphasized.

How would I use this marking to indicate that the listeners should remain unstressed when they hear me play? SmileyFace